A point of difference

Baptcare’s chaplains are a point of difference in the lives of the people they serve. For the Sanctuary residents in particular, the chaplains are an important part of the support staff, and focus on the residents’ spiritual health and wellbeing.

“It’s about understanding the whole person and seeing them as who they are today and what’s present to them,” Baptcare Sanctuary Chaplain, Gareth Fuller said.

“It’s recognising that there’s a lot that has occurred in (the residents’) past, but how can they function and live amidst that. Our role is not about removing a difficult situation, but changing how they encounter it.”

As part of improving the Sanctuary residents’ spiritual health and wellbeing, our chaplains and volunteers host a number of activities for residents, from bushwalking and art projects to community meals. These activities are used as a medium to create conversations and a sense of belonging for the residents.

Sanctuary resident, Arman* said he enjoyed the group activities and trips as it facilitated better social connections with other residents.

“I like the bushwalking, it’s really fun… you get more connection to each other, you get to know more about each other and the nature is stress free, so you forget about all your problems,” Arman said.

Arman added that while he is currently dealing with a number of issues in regards to his visa status, he is better able to cope with life’s uncertainties.

“Life is not fair, there’s always good and bad, it’s not always black and white and sometimes it’s grey. I don’t know about tomorrow or whether my visa will be cancelled or not, but I feel safe here (at Sanctuary) and have a roof over my head and that’s good,” he said.

Gareth added that while the activities offered to the Sanctuary residents facilitated participation and social connections, it played a bigger role in helping residents “reframe the way they hold their uncertainties or pain in a more manageable way”.

“Life is paradoxical, so it’s about creating meaning around the issues that our residents are experiencing.”

* Name changed to protect the individual’s identity and privacy